Main theme: Information Technology and Higher Education
The inaugural conference was convened and organized by Community Initiative Support Services (CISS) and Africa Higher Education Research Institute (AHERI).
The conference was held at Tom Mboya Labour College on the 11th and 12th, July 2019, which was attended by a variety of participants that included keynote speakers, paper presenters, panellists and students.
In the conference, 12 higher education institutions were represented notably Laikipia University, Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology, United States International University, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science & Technology, Rongo University, Great Lakes University of Kisumu, KCA University, University of Dar-es-Salaam, University of Dodoma, Kisumu National Polytechnic, Tom Mboya Labour College and Maseno University.
The AHERI 2019 Conference on Higher Education and Information Technology were timely in that higher education institutions and education policy planners in the country and region are grappling with the issues of technological change in teaching and research to increase access and quality.
The Conference provided a platform to reflect and share experiences, perspectives and more fundamentally to explore the future of information technology in higher education. To remain competitive and relevant, higher education institutions must keep up with and embrace technological advancements.
The ultimate goal being ownership and leadership in creating and shaping the future of higher education through ICT.
In his opening message, AHERI Director, Mr Robert Owino pointed out to participants that AHERI considered education as a field of study and not series of processes and procedures. The overarching purpose of reflecting and discussing the state of higher education through the deliberations of the conference was to make higher education relevant to attaining development within the context of the region.
The Conference brought together the experience and expertise of universities, which are often associated with the more theoretical competences and tertiary institutions (polytechnics) which are widely considered for technical skills.
The Conference Format
The two days conference programme consisted of the singing of the National Anthem, Opening prayer by Rt. Reverend Joshua O. Ouma (Bishop Maseno East Diocese), introduction by the Director AHERI, the keynote speech from the Chairman, Commission for University Education Professor Chacha Nyaigotti Chacha,
five (5) paper presentations with one being a remote presentation from Dodoma University, Tanzania, four (4) panel discussions and a Debate on “ Ethical and legal issues surrounding the widespread use of ICT in education”.
Each speaker was given 15mins to present followed by 5-10 minutes reaction from panellists and plenary session for questions and answers. The conference was structured to foster discussion around the core themes. This was achieved by allocating 30mins each for both morning and afternoon tea and one hour for lunch break for all participants to continue with their discussions after each session.
Each conference session was guided by the theme of the AHERI 2019 Conference and the sub-themes of the conference were as listed below;
1. Higher education institutions use of information technology in quality management in higher education.
2. The use of information technology in teaching and research in high education to reduce cost and increase quality.
3. Information technology to increase access to higher education and therefore accelerate the rate of development.
To encourage student’s participation, the students were exempted from paying the registration fee and yet enjoyed full conference packages.
Key Outcomes and Suggestions;
There was a consensus that the conference was appropriate in terms of content and geographical focus.
The following were noted as specific action points to be considered.
In general, the institutions present requested for further engagement by the participants under the auspices of AHERI to form a community of enthusiasts.
The following Emerging gaps were identified and the conference agreed to seek ways of addressing them.
- Bridging the internet divide through digital inclusivity.
- Forum for engagement by enthusiasts leading to partnerships in projects that increase the digital footprint of the region and participating institutions.
- Enhancing the capacity of universities in internet research through training and remote hubs.
- Need for continuous dialogue and projects to address digital literacy in the grassroots.
- AHERI to champion partnership and linkages with industry and higher education institutions on ICT in the region (eg: KENET, C.U.E, K.I.C.D).
- Participation in the development of policy on the use of Social Media in learning by stakeholders.
- Encouraging Institutions to facilitate learners to enable them to have a level playing field by investing in proper infrastructure for learning.
- That similar forum is convened more often to expose IT, students, to state of the art innovations.
- Acknowledging and facilitating the role of TVET in Research and Innovation.
Please download the AHERI-2019-Conference-Proceedings for your review.